CBN New's Contributing Correspondent Chuck Holton showed CBN News his video on Tuesday of the very real damage from Hurricane Irma that he's been witnessing. Holton rode out the storm in Ft. Myers and drove to Naples and Marco Island on Monday, crossing over to Miami that night.
What he's observed in all the areas he's visited: flooded neighborhoods, downed trees and power lines. "What we're seeing is a great need for chain saws and trucks to haul away all these downed trees," said Holton.
Some ten million people, almost half of Florida's population, remain without electricity. Holton says power companies from 30 states are sending convoys to get the Sunshine state back up and running. As he's traveled, he's run into these convoys on the highways.
The state's largest utility expects that the east coast of Florida will have power again by Sunday but predicts that other areas could take 10 days or more.
In the midst of all the damage, says Holton, Floridians are thankful that the storm wasn't as severe as forecasters originally predicted. "Everyone is just grateful that it wasn't worse than it was," said Holton.
He says that shopkeepers in Miami told him, "Thank God that He answered our prayers and that we're coming back to water damage and not coming back to a concrete slab."
Other Floridians have expressed frustration that the authorities are not letting them back into their homes. "They left their homes and now they want to get back into their neighborhoods and start cleaning up," said Holton, "but they're not being allowed back into their neighborhood by law enforcement because of the fears of looting and just trying to keep everyone safe."
Holton said those residents say the strategy could backfire and that the next time a disaster strikes, people will refuse to leave their homes knowing they could be delayed in returning.
Holton also explained that despite the wide-spread damage, parts of normal life have already returned. He pointed to a Starbucks store behind him where customers were enjoying coffee.